March 15, 2016. 7.30am: Bukky
She is almost at work and in good time. She decides to drop off at the bus stop before her office, preferring to walk the short distance and enjoy the morning breeze. She hums as she walks, thanking God in her heart for everything.
March 15, 2016. 7.30am: Sola
He is absolutely late for work and driving like a formula one car racer. The bank management didn’t take kindly to lateness. He hadn’t slept very well because of the heat. He approaches a huge speed breaker and is forced to slow down. He glances at the lady walking on the side walk and has to take a second look in his rear view mirror as he drives past. She is very pretty and she walks slowly along. “She obviously isn’t late for work” he thinks as he speeds off.
March 15, 2016. 4.55pm: Sola
He is angry and frustrated. His inverter’s been faulty for two weeks now and despite several visits to the inverter repair shop at Bodija, the issue is yet to be resolved. When he purchased the portable inverter from Tetra Inverters Ltd in November 2015, he had been promised that for his needs as a bachelor, it would serve perfectly and without issues for at least one year. Now, not quite 5 months after, he was already encountering problems and the staff at the Bodija Tetra outlet seemed to have no clue! He had been communicating with a member of staff who struck him as careless and incompetent and he was getting to the very ends of his patience limit with Tetra. Getting home after a long day working at the bank to meet a blackout was taking a toll on his nerves and to make matters worse, he had sold his generator as soon as he purchased the inverter.
As the business day winds down to a close and he thinks of going home to face the darkness, a feeling of melancholy gradually steals over him. “Darn it! I really don’t want to go home to face the darkness”.
“Hey dude!” says his friend, Segun. “Why are you looking so glum? Did your team have a shortage again today?”
“No man. It just the thought of going home to no light that’s driving me nuts” says Sola.
“Seriously? Tetra still hasn’t fixed your inverter? That’s so messed up. I’m gonna be hanging out with some of the guys on the 5th floor at that new lounge at Heritage Mall, why don’t you join us and take your mind off your troubles for a while?” says Segun.
“Thanks man, but no thanks. I’ve got some books to read at home. I’ll be fine bruv, thanks once again” says Sola.
Segun salutes playfully and walks away. Sola gathers up his jacket and car keys and slowly exits the building. He drives slowly and absent mindedly along Ring road, heading to his place at Bodija. The blaring horn of the vehicle behind him snaps him out of his reverie. As he moves off the fast lane and into the slow lane, he spies a Tetra signboard on the left and screeches to a halt causing the drivers behind him to yell insults at him as they drive past. He turns into the Tetra parking lot, gets out of the car and slams the door. He walks briskly into the building and is greeted very pleasantly by the security man at the door.
“Good evening and welcome to Tetra Inverters sir” says the fair skinned young security man.
“Good evening” Sola mutters, thinking “What’s so good about the evening when you guys haven’t solved my problem?”
He walks over to the service counter on the right, where two customer service staff are seated.
“I’m gonna give you guys a piece of my mind tonight” he thinks as he approaches the counter.
March 15, 2016. 5.25pm: Bukky
“Thank God it’s almost time to close” says Bukky to her colleague, Titi. “I can’t wait to get home, Mumsy says she cooked fried rice and trust me, she cooks it’s so beautifully”
“Lucky you” says Titi, “I have to cook for hubby and the kids when I get home and I’m so tired”.
“Cheer up girl, I wish I could help you. I will bring some fried rice for you tomorrow” says Bukky in an attempt to cheer Titi up.
“Thanks dear” Titi replies, looking up as the door swings open and a customer walks in. She gets up quickly, whispering to Bukky as she steps out of the cubicle and heads for the back office, “I’m going inside to ease myself, I’ve been pressed for a while now. Besides, I definitely don’t want to attend to the customer who just walking looking like an angry Thor”
“Angry Thor? God of thunder?” whispers Bukky as she looks up at the customer striding towards her.
“Oh my! He looks rather angry” thinks Bukky. She sits up straighter, adjusts her work table and braces herself mentally as the tall, dark young man stops in front of her.
“You are welcome to Tetra Inverters. My name is Bukky, how may I be of service this evening sir?” asks Bukky with a gentle smile.
The tall young man stares down at her across the counter with piercing eyes and his deep frown gradually turns into a brilliant smile.
“Wow! He’s got such an amazing smile and his teeth are so white!” thinks Bukky as the young man continues to smile at her. She wonders what happened to change his frown so drastically into such a dazzling smile.
“How may I be of service sir?” she repeats as he seems to be in no hurry to respond to her first greeting and question.
“You’ve got such beautiful hair, every strand is perfectly in place and I just love the way it’s parted on one side” says the guy.
“Goodness gracious! He is also a charmer” thinks Bukky, “I know this type, he’ll say sweet things to get his way”.
“Thank you so very much” she responds, telling herself to focus on work and not get carried away by his obvious charm. “So how may I be of service sir?” she asks again
March 15, 2016. 5.35pm: Sola
For a brief moment, he forgets his troubles, forgets his frustration and forgets the inverter as he stares down at Bukky in recognition. He had seen her earlier in the morning as he drove past. She had been walking slowly and humming. “Darn it! She is pretty!” thinks Sola, staring down at the young lady seated across the counter. “Her hair is perfect, her smile is breath taking and her figure looks amazing in that chair!”
He watches her squirm a little under his very direct gaze and chides himself. “Stop it man, you’re making her uncomfortable smiling and staring down at her like this”
He switches back to business mode with a very conscious effort, introduces himself and begins to tell her his issues and frustration with the inverter and the seeming incompetence of the staff at the Bodija outlet. She listens attentively and asks a few intelligent probing questions.
“I know what the problem is” she says, “I have had 2 other customers with similar issues. Permit me to escalate this to the proper channel and get back to you tomorrow. The issue should be resolved shortly”
“Finally! Someone who seems to know what she is doing. She isn’t just pretty, she’s got brains too” thinks Sola appreciatively.
When she asks for his full name, e-mail address and phone number for feedback purposes, Sola seizes the opportunity and asks for her number too.
“Please let me have your number, I don’t want a repeat of your Bodija outlet saga. The staff promised to call me but didn’t” says Sola.
She smiles and writes her number on a sticky note and hands it over to him “I understand sir, don’t worry, I will definitely give you a call tomorrow but here is my number all the same”
He collects the sticky note, punches her number on his phone and dials to be sure. He smiles as her phone rings beside her and she smiles too, shaking her head at him, realizing what he had just done.
“Thanks for your wonderful service Bukky, I will be expecting your call” says Sola as he turns to leave.
“Thanks for coming sir, it was my pleasure to serve you” Bukky replies.
He walks to the door, greets the security man more cordially and steps out of the Tetra outlet. He walks slowly towards his car and glances back, to take one more look at Bukky through the sliding glass and catches her watching him. He gives her a huge grin and watches her grin shyly back at him. He turns away and walks to his car, suddenly feeling rather buoyant and optimistic. He drives home whistling. It was a good day after all.
March 15, 2016. 6.05pm: Bukky
She watches him walk away thinking “I like him and I don’t know why!” He turns and catches her watching him and gives her a big smile. She smiles guiltily back at him thinking how silly she’s acting, staring after a perfect stranger. She however continues to watch as he enters his car and drives off. Glancing at her watch, she realizes its closing time and hurriedly begins packing her bag, tidying the work station and shutting down the laptops.
“Titi, come out, he’s gone” she calls out to her colleague.
Titi comes out, all packed and ready to go. “I stayed away deliberately, I hope he didn’t give you too much grief” she asks.
“No he didn’t. He had been frustrated by lack of resolution from our sister branch at Bodija and just needed to get it over with. I was able to figure out the problem and I have escalated it. In fact, the angry god of thunder left here smiling like an angel of peace” she replied, smiling smugly.
“Gosh! I don’t know how you do it Bukky. You seem to be able to make the most irate of customers calm down. Good job dear. Do have a lovely evening and don’t forget to bring my fried rice tomorrow” says Titi as she leaves the premises.
“Good night sis and thanks for the compliment” replies Bukky. She hurries to finish packing up and heads out of the building too.
She stands outside the office complex, hoping to get a taxi cab as soon as possible. “It’s going to rain and I really hope I get home before it begins” she thinks.
She continues flagging down cabs, frowning worriedly because none stops as they are all full. Her thoughts flash back to 30 minutes ago and she remembers Sola staring down at her. “His eyes were so piercing, so full of words. What exactly was he thinking?” she thinks.
Her phone vibrates in her pocket and she pulls it out. She has just received an SMS from Sola. Her worried frown slowly metamorphoses into a beautiful shy smile.
“Hi babes, this is Sola, your new friend. I really truly loved your hair and I think you’re very beautiful. I love the way you talk and I’m looking forward to getting to know you better. You made my day. Nanite”
She is smiling to herself as she resumes flagging down taxi cabs. One eventually screeches to a stop right in front of her and calls out her bus stop. She hops in and begins to type a response to Sola’s SMS.
March 15, 2016. 6.35pm: Sola
He is lying face up in bed, fully dressed, thinking about Bukky and smiling. “Her eyes were so bright and responsive. The way she talked was so cultured, so fluent. She is my kind of woman” he thought. His phone makes a pinging sound and he reaches for it. His smile turns into a full blown grin as he reads her SMS.
“I usually don’t do this with customers, but I do like you too and I enjoyed talking with you. I will give you a call tomorrow as regards your Inverter issue, goodnight my new friend. Cheers, Bukky”
“This promises to be fantastic!” he says out loud.
To be continued………….